Sailors shaping up for the Queen

Sailors shaping up for the Queen

Sailors shaping up for the Queen

First published in Fareham

THEY have trained for more than 100 gruelling hours to perfect a routine fit for the Queen.

These Royal Navy sailors will be part of history when they take part in ceremonial duties to mark the Diamond Jubilee.

Sailors of all ranks have been busy training at HMS Collingwood in Fareham to play a vital role in both the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant on Sunday, June 3 and the Diamond Jubilee thanksgiving service on Tuesday, June 5.

After the Queen has sailed down the Thames in the royal barge, Spirit of Chartwell, she will be greeted by our sailors onboard HMS President.

Once there, nearly 30 Royal Navy Reservists will perform an Honour Guard to the Queen and the Royal Party will view the 1,000-strong flotilla of vessels taking part in the spectacular Pageant, in scenes not seen for more than 300 years.

Just days later on Tuesday, June 5 to mark the final day of the Diamond Jubilee weekend, 120 sailors of all ranks and experience will play an important role in the national service of thanksgiving at St Paul’s Cathedral.

The Queen will have lunch at Westminster Hall before following a route from Westminster to B u c k i n g h a m Palace, lined with thousands of well-wishers before a 60-gun salute at Buckingham Palace, an RAF flypast and a Feu de Joie by The Queen’s Guard.

Sailors who have spent four weeks training at HMS Collingwood will join the other services to line the steps into St Paul’s Cathedral as well as the processional route for the Queen’s arrival and departure.

State ceremonial training officer Paul Barker, said: “The D i a m o n d J u b i l e e events are the icing on the cake. I’ve served 34 years in the Navy. Last year, I did the Royal Wedding and thought that would be the best achievement, but this is far better. Any event you do where sailors are in full uniform on the streets so the public can see sailors rather than troops on parade has got to be a bonus.”

He added: “It means a lot to each one. They are very proud to be doing this. I believe it will be something they remember forever. I certainly will.”

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